Friday, January 11, 2008

Prime Sirloin and Other Tidbits

One of my readers told me about a buffet chain in the Southern US. It is called Prime Sirloin in most of its locations. I almost had an encounter with Prime Sirloin twice when I was in North Carolina this past summer. I didn't dine there because this chain, for some reason, seems to play down that they have a buffet in their local listings. I had been aware of a buffet chain with this name - but when I saw a listing for it, I could not be sure that I had actually found one. Looking at the Prime Sirloin website, this should not be a surprise because the website plays down the buffet just as much. The logo for this chain says "Steaks, Buffet, Bakery". Sounds like Ryans . But other than a few lines about the buffet on an extensive menu page, the focus of Prime Sirloin is to sell you a steak or chicken dinner from the menu. The focus of the website is to sell you a franchise.

My reader told me that he has been to the the Prime Sirloin location near Altoona, PA. This is the furthest location north of the chain, with the majority of locations in North Carolina. He describes the restaurant as "very Golden Corral-esque in both decor and menu". He said that though there is a menu to order from he has never seen anyone use the menu. He also said that you will find some non-traditional bufet offerings such as freshly grilled Panini sandwiches. Sounds good! He says that it is good and the food has "never been less than perfect". Well, that is a great recommendation - and is good enough for me to seek one of these out the next time that I am in North Carolina. (Keep an eye out for a review around August or September.)

The Prime Sirloin Family Steakhouse has ten locations in North Carolina, two locations in Virginia, and one location in Pennsylvania. The chain also goes under the name, Western Steer, and with that name there is a location in Georgia and one in Florida.

As I say, there is a website, but it is sparse and wants to tell you about how to open a franchise location more than it wants to get you to come in and dine. The website does have customer appreciation coupons. The one I saw was for a free beverage (they serve Pepsi products - which seems to be a North Carolina thing, because Pepsi was invented there).

If you have ever been at the Prime Sirloin, please leave a comment or contact me. I would love to get more opinions. Right now, I am taking the recommendation and will try it. I think that it is safe to say that you should try it too!


I have called this article "Prime Sirloin and Other Tidbits" because there did not seem to be enough to write about the Prime Sirloin buffet alone, especially since I cannot give you the usual detail that I try to give whenever I write about a buffet. I have been collecting a few buffet "tidbits" recently and I will use this opportunity to share them with you!

Tidbit -

Old Country Buffet has instituted a weekend price which is now higher than the weekday prices. The new price is for Friday, Saturday and Sunday diner and is $12.29. The reason for this price increase when I asked at the local OCB is because there are special features added to the buffet on those nights. What are they? Well, it is called Surf and Turf Special - which is different from the Surf and Turf Feature that OCB is listing as coming soon on its website. This weekend Surf and Turf is roast beef and fried butterfly shrimp. But, you might say, they always had roast beef on Sunday nights and fried shrimps shows up daily in one form or other on the buffet. You are right! This was just an excuse to raise the weekend price. This makes OCB the most expensive of any of the buffet chains on the weekends.

Tidbit -

Old Country Buffet ran an ad campaign just before Christmas to get more people to dine there. They blanketed local newspapers and bulk mailed discount coupons - buy one get one free. Are they seeing a decline in business? (I wonder why?, I ask facetiously.) From my observations people were using the coupons, but they did not look like there were any more diners than usual.

They also have instituted an "E-Club" which can be joined for free on their website or at the cashier of the restaurants. The e-club will email you coupons for money off and for free meals, as well as advertisements. By joining you get a free meal. Not bad! Take advantage - especially with the recent price increase.

Tidbit -

This story has been documented in the newspaper - two patrons dining together at a Chinese buffet in Louisiana were charged double and banned from the restaurant because they took and ate TOO much. Both diners were over 260 pounds. (Interesting how the newspaper had to list each person's exact weight - this goes along with the bad rep that buffets get.) One was a regular at the restaurant. The spokesman for the restaurant said the reason was that they were only eating the seafood. Evidently the police were called and the meal was made complimentary. There is no mention, though, if they are still banned from returning.

There are the tidbits! Check out Prime Sirloin. I have placed their web link at the side of this page.

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